Willow Lakes, nestled high in the Gore Range surrounded by its jagged rugged peaks, is breathtaking — one of Colorado’s best day hikes or weekend backpacking adventures.

I’ve hiked many trails in the Gore Range and it never disappoints!

Trail Stats and Map are Located at the Bottom.

Begin at the Willowbrook Trailhead and head to your right on Ditches Trail, eventually meeting up with North Willow Creek Trail, and the hike begins. Aspens, pines, and wildflowers line the way.

Note: Heading straight (South Willow Creek Trail) takes you to Willow Creek Falls, a more leisurely hike. Beautiful beginner hike. It’s long but doable for any healthy person acclimated to the altitude. 

Willow Lakes, Gore Range Trail, day hikes, best hikes in Summit County, day hikes, Willow Creek Falls, Willowbrook trailhead, hikes Silverthorne, Colorado, Colorado trails, best hikes in Colorado, Backpacking Colorado, best weekend backpacking trips

I am always thrilled at the first sign of what lies ahead, high mountain peaks appearing and knowing it gets better and better. 

Colorado, Colorado hikes, Best hikes Colorado, Summit County trails, Hikes Silverthorne, Gore Range Trails, Willow Lakes, Willow Creek falls, day hikes, weekend backpacking trips in Colorado

Be ready for a spirited hike up. This trail is a grueling, non-stop, uphill trek, but worth it when approaching those ragged peaks!

hikes Silverthorne, Summit County hikes, best day hikes in Colorado, Colorado, day hikes, weekend backpacking trips in Colorado,
Willow Lakes, Gore Range, Colorado hikes, day hikes, Summit County, best hikes in Colorado

Watch the trail signs and head to Upper Willow Lakes, still trudging upward, and soon eye-popping views of the jagged ridges of the Gore Range appear. The trees are weather-beaten, the rocks bigger, the terrain gorgeous.

Willow Lakes, Gore Range, Silverthorne CO, hikes in the Gore Range, best day hikes in Colorado, day hikes,
Willow Lakes, Gore Range, hiking trails in the Gore Range, day hikes, Colorado day hikes, Best hikes in Summit County

A waterfall, then the first lake with panoramic views to the east. We lingered here for a while, gawking at the pristine blues. 

Colorado, Willow Lakes, Gore Range trails, Hikes in the Gore Range, day hikes, best trails in Colorado, backpacking Colorado, Silverthorne, Summit County

If you can reach above the tree line, this is where your heart expands with awe.

A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. > Day Hiker Checklist

Willow Lakes, Gore Range, best hikes in the Gore Range, Colorado, hikes Colorado, best weekend backpacking trips in Colorado, hiking trails, Summit County hikes, day hikes, hikes Colorado, Willow Creek Falls, Willowbrook Trailhead, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Frisco,

I am practically skipping now hiking among these glorious peaks. I hear marmots and pikas but haven’t spotted one yet.

Willow Lakes
Willow Lakes, Gore Range, Hikes in the Gore Range, CO, Eagles Nest Wilderness, day hikes, best weekend backpacking in Colorado

It’s easy hiking now across the tundra, pines, and rocks below the peaks of the Gore Range. The trek getting here long forgotten.

Willow Lakes, Gore Range, Backpacking Colorado, day hikes, best hikes in Colorado, Summit County trails,

The trail ends at Willow Lake. It’s sensational. It’s obvious why so many backpackers line the shores, staying for days. Fabulous hike.

I have lived in Colorado for 50 years and have hiked trail after trail. I am still in awe every time I find a new one. This hike is no exception!

Notable: > Trekking Poles: for water crossings and steep downhill rocky terrain. > Bug Spray: Especially in the heat of summer. > Rain Gear: At this altitude, weather can change in minutes. > Electrolytes: Your body dehydrates quickly at high altitudes. (carry extra water).


11.6 miles out & back

Rated: Strenuous

Elevation gain: 2742′

Popular for backpacking adventures

> Eagles Nest Wilderness (permits for overnight camping required)

Leashed dogs ok

The trail begins at Willowbrook Trailhead

No Restrooms

Limited parking – come early

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).


best day hikes, summit county hikes, day hikes, Breckenridge, Best hikes in Breckenridge, family hikes, waterfall hikes, alpine lake hikes, Colorado vacation, Colorado wilderness, Rocky Mountains

Mohawk Lakes

Breckenridge, CO

Mayflower Gulch, best hikes in Colorado, beginner hikes, Rocky Mountains, ten Mile Range, family hikes, snowshoe trails, easy hikes.

Mayflower Gulch

Summit County

Can't wait to see you on the trail!

Connect with me on Instagram! I enjoy hanging out there and leaving tidbits of trails I’ve hiked in Colorado. Follow me and say hi – send me a message! Follow other hikers and be inspired!